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Business School Hosts SEC Development Officers

Development officers from SEC business schools gather on the Ole Miss campus for their 11th annual conference. Photo Credit: Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

Professionals from across the region gathered recently at the University of Mississippi for the 11th annual Southeastern Conference Business Schools Development Officers Conference.

This marked the university’s first time to host the two-day conference, which included multiple sessions that addressed a wide range of donor and fundraising topics.

“We were extremely pleased to host the SEC development officers on our campus,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “The conference represents an outstanding networking opportunity for these professionals and allows them to learn best practices from each other.

“Collectively, this will help our SEC business schools continue to strive for the margin of excellence that makes our graduates competitive and helps bolster our economic success in Mississippi, the South and around the globe.”

Participating universities were Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to host all the development officers from the SEC business schools,” said Charlotte Parks, UM vice chancellor for development. “When we are not competing in athletics, we openly share ideas and gain from each other’s experiences.

“All the participants left impressed with Ole Miss and Oxford, thanks to the work Angela Brown, Tim Noss, Jason McCormick and Sally Rychlak put into planning the conference.”

The first session – featuring Parks; Susan Boyette, executive director of central development; and Kristina Carlson, managing director of Carter, a global philanthropy firm – focused on billion-dollar fundraising campaigns, which have become “the new normal” for most universities.

Parks, Boyette and Carlson offered insights into the campaign process and provided development officers with advice on how their roles affect the success of these large, multiyear campaigns.

The second session featured a panel of development officers from Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Attendees not only learned about the structure of different advisory boards but also how each board supports its school.

Following the panel, participants enjoyed lunch in the renovated Ole Miss Student Union, where nationally recognized cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, of Mississippi Today, was the guest speaker. The group toured the Student Union, South Campus Recreation Center and the William Magee Center for Wellness Education, discussing naming opportunities for the facilities.

Breakout sessions featured Maura Langhart, UM director of annual giving, and advisers from the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. Their topics included leadership, mentorship and philanthropy.

“Hosting this conference provided an opportunity for the business school development professionals from around the SEC to connect, collaborate and learn from one another,” said Angela Brown, senior director of development for the UM business school. “In our line of work, we are often on the go.

“This conference offers a beneficial time each year to disconnect from our daily duties and responsibilities as development professionals, to evaluate our strategies, and recharge and prepare for another fiscal year.”

Second-day conference highlights included a panel of business school and Patterson School of Accountancy donors: Rita Howard Garcia, of Austin, Texas; Jackie Bailey, of Byram; and Jay Oliphant, of Memphis, Tennessee. All three alumni provided perspectives on their relationships with development officers.

Throughout the panel, the donors discussed the “exceptionally engaged faculty” at Ole Miss and the importance their roles play in the school’s overall success.

A discussion by Byron Liles, UM senior director of gift and estate planning, focused on working with alumni on gifts that benefit both the institution and donors.

“We were so proud to represent Ole Miss and the business and accounting schools,” said Noss, the business school’s director of development. “I have attended many of these conferences across the SEC, enjoyed visiting the campuses and getting to know many of their business school development officers.

“Being able to host our business school counterparts was an honor, and we are so pleased with the success of the event.”


Brynn Trahan

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